Venice is the capital of the Veneto Region, in the north-east of Italy. The city is known world-wide for its unique cultural heritage and in 1987 Venice and its lagoon were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, for their historical, archaeological, urban, architectural and artistic heritage but also their local traditions and peculiar nature.
Early settlements date back to the sixth century: among these Rivo Alto, Rialto, was the most central and became the very heart of Venice, linking together 118 separate islands with bridges and canals. The dwelling continued to develop in the following centuries and by the year 1000 Venice already was one of the most powerful cities in Europe, becoming the centre of a maritime republic known as La Serenissima.
Testaments to the power of the Marine Republic of Venice, which was the greatest seaport in late medieval Europe and the Continent’s commercial and cultural link to Asia, are still visible today, including the splendid piazza San Marco, as well as its ‘campi’ and ‘campielli’ – larger and smaller squares – bridges and palaces, inside of which are preserved the timeless artworks of Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and many others.
Venice – which nowadays includes also Mestre and Marghera on the mainland – is still a major Italian port in the northern Adriatic Sea and one of the world’s oldest tourist and cultural centres. The island city has captivated visitors for centuries, being an open-air museum that seems to float on its lagoon. Visitors can walk its entirety if they want to, or they can watch the city’s unique scenery go by from a boat, choosing from private transport, like a ‘gondola’, or a public one, like a ‘vaporetto’.
To really get to know Venice and its territory as a whole, a visit should also include trips to discover the most remote parts of its lagoon, as well as the hidden jewels of Mestre and Marghera. These hide discoveries such as their old forts, the newly opened contemporary history museum M9, and numerous urban trekking itineraries, cycle paths and bridleways. The best way to experience the Venetian territory is to practice slow tourism and to learn more about its history, architecture, different landscapes and environments, local traditions, craft productions – like lace, textiles, furniture and glass – and naturally some delicious food.